Abandon, no - trade for time, yes.
In fact, you have been tasked to perform one of the more difficult military operations: a fighting retreat while preserving as much of the forces available as possible. Same as you did in '41, except that the Axis supply situation will be better. Fun, eh?
The Recon by force suggestion were as you might have read met with a hailstorm of objections, so it's understandable if you have refrained from doing it, but the normal recon should still be doable, are you finding anything?
I would like to trade that particular geography for time; and wouldn't even be too upset if Saper trapped 10 or so divisions in that area. But if he traps 20+ divisions, which is my fear, than I may regret not retreating all the way back to the Don.
I read those posts about your suggestion as well. I haven't yet decided if I will do it. On the one hand I don't think Saper will care in the least. He is very clear that he doesn't believe in house rules and has not hesitated from doing things that other people (not necessarily me) might call cheese. But I'm not yet certain how I feel about it. Also how effective is it really? I haven't tried bombing at night, but I do know that day bombing will very seldom give you any information about the units you are bombing. I would have thought that night bombing would be even less helpful in that regard. How many times on average will I have to bomb the same hex to get any info about it's occupants.
As for regular air recon, it indicates that Saper is building up his forces between Orel and Stalino. In particular lots of units are concentrating around Orel, Kursk and Stalino. North of Orel very few units are being revealed by air recon. But is this because he doesn't have very many units there, or because the rougher terrain is hiding them from view, especially in mud?
I should add that, at the moment, I haven't felt any need to do too much recon (including the night bombing) because I don't believe Saper will be attacking me any time soon. We have only just completed the 2nd turn of April (which has 5 turns) and I want to conserve my recon aircraft for intensive recon on the last turn of April and then throughout May and June.